Low fat does not mean low calorie

It was once touted that low fat diets were the way to lose weight. Due to fat having a higher caloric value (9 kcal) compared to carbohydrates and proteins (4 kcals each), many nutrition experts saw cutting fats out of a person’s diet as a way to cut a large amount of calories. We now know that low fat may not be the way to go and that some fats are good for us and essential to the functioning of our bodies.

Fat provides essential fatty acids that are necessary for growth, healthy skin and hair, nerve transmission, various hormonal processes and the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Now before you go make yourself a meal consisting of a cheeseburger and french fries or start eating a stick of butter, you should know that not all fat is created equal. The fats that your body benefits from are healthy monounsaturated fats typically found in avocados, olive oil, nuts, fish, etc, not those found in fast food, bacon, whole fat dairy, or anything fried, which are referred to as saturated or trans fats. Another benefit of having fat in your diet is that it is digested slower, making you feel full longer.

Cutting fat from your diet may be a way to cut calories, but for many people it isn’t. Many people who try a low fat diet actually end up gaining weight! This is due to cutting fat and compensating by eating more carbohydrates, refined sugars, and processed foods. Marketers and food companies have created so many products to prey on people trying to cut fat from their diet. If you walk into a supermarket you will see shelves full of low fat or fat free cookies, crackers, chips, dips, spreads, cheese, and ice cream and people fall for this trap all the time. Most of the time it leads to an high consumption of sugars and eating larger portions of products because of the misconception that it is “guilt free” because it doesn’t contain fat. The truth is, low fat/fat free does not mean low calorie. Fat has a lot of taste, which is why we like it so much. So to cut it from a product the manufacturers have to replace it with something else equally as tasty, usually sugar and we all know what sugar can do to our bodies. (If not read my sugar blog) So the low fat diet is one that I will say I would not recommend, but that’s my opinion. I will say that fat should be consumed in moderation and kept to no more than 30% of your total calories, with saturated fat only accounting for 10% or less.

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